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Dehumanization In War Without Mercy

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In War Without Mercy, John W. Dower approaches World War II from both the Western perspective and the Japanese perspective. Dower, as many others, views the war as a race war (Dower 4). Racism negatively influenced the conduct of this war. The amount of violence and brutality inflicted on each enemy is only made possible by the thought that this enemy is less than human. Dehumanizing another person makes it easy for someone to act as they please without remorse. The dehumanization of others, due to prejudice, racial pride, and use of propaganda, intensified the brutality of the Pacific War. The act of Americans comparing another race to a species, other than human, was not a new thing during World War II; it had been done time and time again before. African Americans were exhibited as orangutans, Native Americans were portrayed as baboons, and then the Japanese were called yellow vermin, apes, or even yellow monkeys (Dower 149). All these people were non-white, so they were just “others.” They were all portrayed as inferior, non-intellectual savages incapable of conjuring moral thoughts (Dower 148). To Americans and other westerners, the Japanese were underdeveloped, savages, and inferior fighters. They were unimaginative cowards that could not possibly plan and execute elaborate…show more content…
This is exactly why the war became so brutal. Atrocities that were unthinkable to Americans became reality with just enough racial discrimination and propaganda. The Japanese did everything they could to promote and prove to themselves that they were the master race and all other races were just outsiders, some human and some nonhuman. Americans believed most nonwhite races were so inferior they were comparable to species less than human. Stereotypes, propaganda, and prejudice caused the Americans and the Japanese to decrease to worth of the lives of their enemies,; and therefore justified their brutish
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